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Child sex assault victim's mother sues Fairfax County CA Descano

WJLA – Washington D.C. 2/8/2023 Nick Minock
Child sex assault victim's mother sues Fairfax County CA Descano
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Fairfax County Commonwealth's  Attorney Steve Descano is being sued by a family for emotional distress.

“Back in the summer of 2021, my son was sexually assaulted,” Amber Reel told reporters on Tuesday. “And in result, the case ended up getting dismissed because the case was not handled properly [by the Fairfax County Commonwealth's Attorney’s Office]. I am here today because I'm going to continue fighting for my child. It was uncalled for. As of today, we will be amending our complaint and I will be entering into this as a plaintiff as well for emotional distress. Point blank, they didn't do their job. They didn't.”

Below, watch the full press conference with Amber Reel:

Caption: Fairfax County Commonwealth's Attorney Steve Descano is being sued by a family for emotional distress. Watch the child's mother,{{ }}Amber Reel, talk to reporters Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. (7News)

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“Amber Reel says your office didn't do their job and failed to get justice for her son, who she says was assaulted in a way that no child should go through. Did your office fail this victim and their family?” 7News Reporter Nick Minock asked Descano.

“I understand when things don't go the way that people want,” Descano answered. “That it can be very, very difficult. Particularly when it's a case like this where it's a young child and every time something like that happens, it hurts. I wake up every day trying to build a safe community and doing the right thing for victims. In this case, where the victim got up on the stand and retain a testimonial said, certain acts that were charged never occurred. That put us in a position where we could not get convictions on those on those particular accounts. In the aftermath of that, we gathered with the victims, we discussed our options, and we came to an agreement that at the moment, we believe they were happy. I understand that now maybe they've had a change of heart but I can tell you that under the circumstances, our office did everything that it had in his power to do to get justice.”

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“To continue to watch my child go through this and continue to watch myself go through, this 11-year-old boy at the time, was assaulted in a way that no child should go through,” Reel said Tuesday. “And they should have been there to defend us and they just let it go by.”

In September 2021, the Fairfax County CA’s office said, “Initially, we elected to take this case to trial and turned down multiple pleas that were offered by the defense. Ultimately, once on the stand, the victim denied that one of the charges had taken place and contradicted their prior testimony regarding the circumstances of the remaining charge. Unfortunately, young victims often have difficulty recalling the details of such significant trauma – which is why prosecuting these crimes is uniquely challenging. Following this testimony we consulted with the family, who agreed that guaranteeing accountability through a plea deal was the right move at that point given how the case had evolved. With regards to the discovery question: as our prosecutor covered in great detail in the response she filed with the Court, the ruling that discovery was shared too early with the defense – which was done as part of our office’s effort to go above and beyond in pursuit of equal justice – was indeed confounding to us and inconsistent with precedent.”

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